Robber Barons versus Captains of Industry
520 WordsJan 28th, 20182 Pages
Captains of Industry
During the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, both robber barons and captains of industry were terms used to place businessmen into a good or bad category. The term robber baron is a representation of industrialist who used manipulative methods in order to reach enormous quantities of wealth. Some characteristics of robber barons were: they depleted America of its valuable resources, forced authority to pass laws that would work in there favor, make opponents in the industry go out of business, and force laborers to work in hazardous circumstances with little pay. The term captains of industry meant the exact opposite, these businessmen did positive things in order to reach enormous quantities of wealth. Some characteristics of captains of industry were: they constructed factories to make the accessibility of goods rise, increased production, developed markets, gave to charity, and created more jobs with generous pay. While many historians believe that the industrialist of the 19th century were captains of industry there are others that would object and say that they were indeed robber barons. Would you consider the great industrialist of the 19th century to be robber barons or would you consider them as captains of the industry?
I believe that the industrialist of the 19th century were indeed robber barons. There are many factors that would justify the fact that these industrialists were robber barons instead of…
The wave of industrialism that we have been studying was often driven by a few great men known as industrialists. There can be no mistaking their motives: wealth. There is some debate, however, on the how history should portray these industrialists.
Some feel that the powerful industrialists of the gilded age should be referred to as "robber barons." This view accentuates the negative. It portrays men like Vanderbilt and Rockefeller and Ford and cruel and ruthless businessmen who would stop at nothing to achieve great wealth. These "robber barons" were accused of exploiting workers and forcing horrible working conditions and unfair labor practices upon the laborer.
Another view of the industrialist is that of "captain of industry." The term captain views these men as viewed ingenious and industrious leaders who transformed the American economy with their business skills. They were praised for their skills as well as for their philanthropy (charity).
In reality the debate over robber barons and captains of industry mirrors views of industrialism itself. Just as their were both positives and negatives to industrialism there were positives and negatives to the leaders of industrialism.
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